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 Cooper's Hawk

Status in Michigan
Common Transient

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Cooper's Hawk.

Use the links below to view the Cooper's Hawk reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Cooper's Hawk sightings.
Cooper's Hawk Archives Reports
Fall 2003 39
Spring 2003 47
Winter 02-03 46
Fall 2002 55
Summer 2002 11
Spring 2002 67
Winter 01-02 32
Fall 2001 21
Summer 2001 5
Spring 2001 43
Winter 00-01 70
Fall 2000 575
Summer 2000 3
Spring 2000 23
Winter 00-99 40
Fall 1999 299
Spring/Summer 1999 8

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Cooper's Hawk

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Cooper's Hawk
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Cooper's Hawk
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text

Accipiter cooperii (Bonaparte)
Cooper's Hawk
U.M.M.Z. Animal Diversity Reference

Fairly common summer resident, perhaps only local northward. A few winter in southern counties.

First listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 413).

SPRING.-Northward migration is reported chiefly from mid-April to mid-May.

Lower Peninsula.-The species was common during the hawk migration of April 27 to 30, 1918, at Birchwood Beach, Berrien County (N. A. Wood, 1922: 13). At Sand Point, Huron County, D. W. Douglass collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) on April 10, 1933, and saw several there in late April and early May (1931 to 1933). Several of the species "were among the migrating hawks at Cecil Bay, Emmet County, on April 29, 2023" (Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937).

Upper Peninsula.-Although individuals are occasionally reported in the eastern end of the peninsula in the last week of March (1 at McMillan, Luce County, on March 23, 1938, reported by Bryens; 1 in the vicinity of Sault Ste Marie on March 28, 1920, and 1 on March 28. 1925, reported by Christofferson and Magee), the species arrives in the north mainly during the first 2 weeks of April. At Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, where heavy spring flights formerly occurred, only relatively small numbers now pass by. In 1937 these hawks arrived there on April 18, were at their maximum (55 birds) on April 23, and were gone by the end of the month (S. D. Knox). In 1936 Brodkorb, arriving there on May 8, learned that the main hawk flight had passed in late April, but he noted a maximum of 45 the next day and 16 as late as May 12. Knox and Brodkorb found this hawk to be outnumbered by the Sharp-shinned, by more than 6 to 1, and more than 3 to 1, respectively. The species was common at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, in 1931, arriving there on May 5 (N. A. Wood, 1933:718) .

SUMMER.-Barrows (1912: 267-68) stated that it nested "abundantly in most sections" of Michigan, but current northern records are very few. Egg sets are found principally in the last week of April and in May.

Lower Peninsula.-In Wayne and Oakland counties, where the Cooper's Hawk bred commonly (Blain, 1901: 184-86; Swales, 1903: 15), many nests with eggs were reported, mainly in late April and the first half of May. Several nests have been found each year in the Ann Arbor region, in 1 of which 4 nestlings 2 weeks old were banded on June 16, 1940, by R. L. Patterson. This hawk was formerly an abundant breeding species in the vicinity of Kalamazoo County (Gibbs, 1885: 135; 1889o: 68-69 ; 1894: 204), but it is now apparently only "rather common" (at Vicksburg, fide F. W. Rapp, 1931: 12) ; both writers have found eggs from the last week in April to the last week in May. At Big Rapids, Mecosta County, C. Karshner collected egg sets (U.M.M.Z.), 1 on April 23, 1899, and 1 on April 28, 1901. Breeding has been noted on several occasions in northern Cheboygan County, where nestlings were discovered on July 13 and 17 (Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937).

Upper Peninsula.-There are very few records for the peninsula. Christofferson saw a pair of Cooper's Hawks at their nest near Blaney, Schoolcraft County, on June 1, 1938. On Isle Royale, earlier expeditions had recorded only a few individuals, but breeding evidence was finally obtained on May 23,1930, when N. A. Wood saw a Cooper's Hawk fly from a nest high in a birch tree.

FALL.-There are no Michigan records of concentrations or large flights in fall, though there are numerous records of single birds. At Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, a few of the species are reported in fall (Magee, 1922o: 258) ; in 1925 Fargo observed 1 to 3 every few days from August 18 until he left the vicinity on September 10. In the neighborhood of Sault Ste Marie, Christofferson and Magee have noted the species in September and occasionally in late October (October 15, 1922, and October 23, 2023); Bryens, at McMillan, Luce County, has noted it until October 31 (1934) and November 3 (1929). Fall records from southern counties (all of single birds), though fairly numerous, are too scattered to indicate the time of fall flight. In the Toledo-Erie marsh area L. W. Campbell (1940: 54) records a noticeable migration from September 16 to November 7.

WINTER.-The Cooper's Hawk winters in small numbers in the southern counties, occasionally as far north as Saginaw County, and has been re- corded once from the Upper Peninsula. In Wayne County, Swales (1903;15) listed the species as rare in winter; J. Claire "Wood (1910: 38) saw 1 there on January 1 and 3, 1909, and R. E. Olsen and A. D. Tinker saw 1 at Gibraltar on January 31, 1937. One specimen (U.M.M.Z.) has been taken in the Ann Arbor region (January 1, 2023), and individuals are seen there in late December, January, and February of each winter. An individual was seen in Jackson County on December 25, 1932, by Fargo and others (1933: 39) and 1 at Portage Lake in that county by K. E. Olsen and A. D. Tinker on January 17, 1937. In the Battle Creek to Gull Lake area 1 or 2 have been found during several of the recent Christmas-season counts (N. T. Peterson and others, 1938: 55), and a number have been reported there in January by Walkinshaw. A specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was taken at Dimondale, Eaton County, on December 20, 1928, by I. H. Sabin, and another seen at the Prairie Farm, Alicia, Saginaw County, on February 2, 1940, by G. A. Ammann. For a period of some 20 years at Macmillan, Luce County, Bryens has but one winter record of the Cooper's Hawk: 1 seen on January 25, 1939.

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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